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  • Ragpapermedia

Where I’m From

It’s Christmas Eve 2019, the end of a decade, and I ran across this picture from my first grade classroom. My teacher Mrs. King did not play, she had what she referred to as her magic wand (five rulers banded together) which she used to strike you on the hand if you disrupted her class. There was a strict no gum policy. Everyday at some point students were required to read out loud, follow along, and respect those of us who were slow readers, stutterers, etc. Mrs. King rewarded us with stars and trips to her treasure chest for good behavior, and around Christmas time used a hammer to break up a giant candy cane to share with the class. See in 1985 most of the kids in this classroom had to get up super early because they were bussed from a completely different neighborhood. They needed to feel welcomed and accepted and King created a safe space for all of us to thrive. One year prior I was the only black girl in my kindergarten class and one of just three kids of color. The strange thing about the racism in half-day kindergarten is that it did not come from my white peers, it came from the black female teacher who could’ve passed as my aunt. So as Ragpapermedia enters a new year, and new decade with endless possibilities, we’ll always remember to be a celebration space for the entire spectrum of melanated people. We are who we are because Mrs. King loved “All Of Us”!

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